English R1A

Reading & Composition: Playing with Literature

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
9 Fall 2008 Jesse Costantino
TTh 8-9:30 222 Wheeler

Other Readings and Media

"A course reader including theoretical works by Johan Huizinga, Roland Barthes, Tzvetan Todorov, and Ludwig Wittgenstein, and short fictional works and selections from E.A. Poe, Franz Kafka, Jorge Luis Borges, the Arabian Nights tales, Dave Eggers, Lewis Carroll, and Daniel Handler.

The Lost Ones, Samuel Beckett; Pale Fire, Vladimir Nabakov; Life, A User's Manual, Georges Perec; The Investigation, Stanislaw Lem; The Last Samurai, Helen DeWitt; Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth, Chris Ware; House of Leaves, Mark Z. Danielewski



"For this course, we will look at a handful of texts that equate �reading� and �writing� with �playing.� In these texts, stories become games, books become toys, and passive reading becomes active participation. We will consider a handful of theoretical approaches to these texts exploring the nature of literary gamesmanship, play, and fun. Despite the seemingly light course topic, we will also examine the heavier political and social implications of this type of reading and writing.

ince the course texts understand the notion of play as a critical component of both reading and writing, this will give us an avenue by which to engage with our own reading and writing practices. You will be expected to write and read often, and more importantly, you will be expected to reflect on your own writing and reading activities through course discussion and a number of other textual exercises.

As our course texts will prove, the activities of reading and writing are inextricably bound together in the field of play. Similarly, literary analysis is the organized writing out of a highly focused reading. As such, you will devote considerable time in this course to writing, peer editing, and revising three larger pieces of literary analysis based upon careful readings of course texts. We will also spend some class time discussing and practicing organizational/logical strategies, including everything from sentence-level construction all the way up to essay-wide argumentation."

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